Advanced Materials & Impact Dynamics


Using a synergy of our expertise regarding advanced materials and of their behaviour under dynamic impact loading conditions we focus on developing resilient materials and structures for engineering applications. Using experimental investigation, we test materials over a wide spectrum of strain rates ranging from 10-3 to 107 s-1.  

Our areas of expertise cover the study of advanced composite materials across: 

  • aerospace structures
  • automotive
  • civil infrastructure 
  • defence 
  • oil and gas industries 
  • marine industries 

Our research works to: 

  • maximise survivability by developing new protective structures for Defence to improve the performance of lightweight armour systems in defending against attacks from shape charged weapon systems and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
  • minimise the weight burden on the soldier by developing lightweight durable structures 
  • reduce injury by developing a better understanding of the behaviour of the human body to dynamic loading and ballistic impacts. 

Competitive Advantage

  • Advanced material manufacturing and testing capabilities 
  • The fastest gun in the Southern Hemisphere. A two-stage gun able to fire projectile packages to 4.5 km/s. 
  • Split-Hopkinson-Pressure-Bar for compression and tensile analysis 
  • Instrumented Drop Tower 
  • High-speed diagnostic capabilities 
  • Ability to combine high strain-rate testing with computational expertise 
  • Recognition of our expertise in advanced engineering simulations including blast and impact 
  • Composite manufacturing
  • FEM (composites, structures, fluid-structure interface)
  • Computational mechanics (nonlinear numerical, thermal and thermal-mechanical, progressive damage analyses)
  • Repair, design and application
  • Renovation and rehabilitation of engineering structures
  • Joint design and analysis
  • High temperature structural applications
  • Composite steel-concrete structures
  • Mechanical characterisation and experimental diagnostics of polymer and metal matrix composites
  • Fracture and fatigue testing
  • Durability of composite materials (stress corrosion of glass fibres)
  • Impact testing
  • Non-destructive inspection of composites (NDI)
  • Nano-particulate metal matrix composites

Successful Applications

  • Supporting Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) in their quest to understand the mechanical behaviour of a range of Defence materials at various strain rates 
  • Development of new resilient structures using advanced protective systems and new materials (High strength steel, Polymers, Ceramics, Auxetics, Fabrics) 
  • Probing the ballistic performance of a new fast-jet bunker design 
  • Development of constitutive models for armour materials 
  • Understanding the role of a bullet’s jacket during the penetration of hard targets 
  • Design and analysis of composite anisogrid lattice structures for aerospace applications 
  • Additive manufacturing of layered functionally graded metal matrix composites (jointly with CSIRO) 
  • Design and analysis of reinforced thermoplastic pipes for offshore oil and gas applications 
  • Development of validated numerical platforms and FEA codes, providing a wide range of consultation 

Our research topics and projects include the development of new structural design and analysis methods, experimental characterisation of new materials, studies of structural performance, and manufacturing effects.  Research projects include:

  • Buckling of sandwich panels with laminated facings and compressible core
  • Dynamic response and progressive failure of composite structures
  • Design and modal analysis of deployable space structural components 
  • Vibration-based delamination detection in composite beams through frequency changes
  • Impact and dynamic testing of composites
  • Bond behaviour of geopolymer concrete and FRP bars
  • Experimental and computational study of ultra-high temperature ceramics (carbides, nitrides and borides) with applications to the development of optical devices

Undergraduate research projects

  • Influence of a steel strike face on an Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene hybrid composite
  • The effect of contamination on the integrity and durability of composite adhesive bonds
  • Photopolymer Resin Extrusion 3D Printer
  • Material characterisation of LENS 3D printed titanium metal matrix composite using sub size testing samples
  • Investigating the validity of utilising in-situ destructive testing to determine the mechanical property of a hybrid metal-composite under the influence of debonding or delamination
  • Evaluating the structural response of carbon fibre reinforced polymer sandwich panels subjected to low velocity impacts
  • Damage characterisation of thick composite laminates subjected to in-plane impact
  • Fabrication and material characterisation of thermoplastic UHMWPE/HDPE composites
  • Low velocity impact performance of honeycomb sandwich panels with carbon fibre/aluminium laminate face sheets
  • Surface preparation and the contamination effects on composite adhesive bonds
  • Characterisation of a flax fabric/bio-epoxy composites

Postgraduate research projects

  • Ballistic response of CFRP sandwich panels
  • Impact behaviour of UHMWPE woven fabrics and fabric-reinforced composite laminates
  • Structural design methodology for composite wind turbine blades
  • Progressive damage modelling and crash simulation for laminated composite structures
  • Study of bond behaviour between glass fibre reinforced polymer bars and fly-ash based geopolymer concrete 
  • Impact behaviour of hybrid GFRP-concrete beam under low-velocity impact loading
  • Improving thermo-mechanical characteristics of a 3D printable materials for small-satellite applications

Study With Us

We offer several courses in both advanced materials and impact dynamics.  

We also sponsor several final-year undergraduate research projects in the field of composite structural engineering. These projects relate to real-world issues faced by contemporary and future Australian Defence Force (ADF) platforms. Students participating in sponsored research projects will work collaboratively with the highly recognised Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG). Students also develop professional career networks within our team and the wider ADF structural integrity community.